Svalbard ice cores and climate variability
The main scientific goal of the project is to investigate the present and the recent past climate and the input of long-range contaminants to Svalbard.
Over the last 10 years Norwegian scientists together with colleagues from several other nations have retrieved ice cores, spanning several hundreds of years, from three major glacier-ice caps in Svalbard; Lomonosovfonna, Austfonna and Holtedahlfonna. Thus ice cores from these three sites are providing information on both the spatial variability component in addition to the temporal record. The main scientific goal of the project is to investigate the present and the recent past climate and the input of long-range contaminants to Svalbard. For example, we have used the 18O records from two of these ice cores; Lomonosovfonna and Holtedahlfonna, to calibrate against available instrumental surface air temperature series and reconstruct the winter surface air temperatures (SAT) on Svalbard back more than 1000 years. To our knowledge this is the first attempt to date to quantify in detail past temperature changes in Svalbard from isotopic ice core records. Among the various contaminants we have analysed are PCB, DDT, brominated flame retardants and various pesticides. Studying the contaminants has given us insight into atmospheric transport, deposition and preservation in the snow pack thus also highly relevant for climate variability studies.
In March 2009 we drilled two new ice cores of 149 m and 37 m depth, respectively, at the Lomonosovfonna (1202 m asl, 78°49'24.4" N;17°25'59.2"E) in collaboration with Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. The main goal with these cores is to reconstruct the development of black carbon in this part of the Arctic.
The various types of data from these ice cores have been and are used in several different projects, a selection is listed below.
- 2011–2015: Nordic Center of Excellence CRAICC (Cryosphere-Atmosphere Interactions in a Changing Arctic Climate)
- 2006–2010: EU “Millenium” European climate of the last millennium
- 2007–2010: NFR (Norklima) “Svalbard ice cores and climate variability”
- 2006–2009: NFR (FRINAT) “Characterisation of nuclear weapons fallout over Norwegian Territories” , together with Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)
Elisabeth Isaksson (project lead)
- University of Tromsø
- UNIS, Svalbard
- Institute of Geology, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
- Arctic Centre, Finland
- Uppsala University, Sweden
- Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
- Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
- University of Bern, Switzerland
- Environment Canada, Burlington, Canada